Ever see “Un Chien Andalou”, the film Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali released in 1929? It epitomizes one sort of surrealism in that the scenes make no real sense and in fact seem like a hyper real dream sequence. No meaning I guess but what might be given up to psychoanalysis which is a scary thought given what follows.
The opening montage is one of the most disturbing in all of cinema. I found it on YouTube, but chose not to import it here. The photo above is from the first bit and I’ll tell you that the other hand holds a straight razor. To also know in advance (if you chose to seek it out) that in the next few frames is a dead donkey stand-in will effect no comfort.
I thought of this yesterday when I read that a new music video by Sri Lankan M.I.A. was sensored from YouTube. Son had taken me to it the previous evening. It is by Romain Gavras, the son of the maker of award winning overtly politically themed films (“Z” most famously) Costa Gavras.
The video by Gavras fils employs graphic violence to convey it’s message, but you know you’re watching a movie. The raw technique employed by the eighty years older segment bypasses your intellect.
You’ve been warned. Me, I’d have allowed the former to continue to play and will forever try to repress my big screen memory of the latter.
I shave with a straight razor. Taking it against the strop (and occasionally a stone) somehow sets an early rhythm for the day. But more important is the sort of early edge it puts on my consciousness. Ya sorta gotta pay attention. Dreams left behind and matinal ruminations bypassed, I’m reminded that the moment present is all there is.
And forget soon after, but at least it’s a start.
*Un Chien Andalou translates from the French as “An Andalusian Dog”. And if you don’t know what the Andalusian Peninsula is you had better figure it out before our paths next cross.
**Interesting that both leading actors from the Bunuel flic took their own lives. The woman by self immolation…
***The obvious didacticism blunts the effect of the violence of the Gavras video which, upon reflection, is the case of at least several of his father’s films as well.
****Didacticism aside, Gavras pere’s films get their point across. His “Missing” (1982), which was about Les Disaparecidos in Pinochet’s Chile, led to a $150 million lawsuit by the real counterpart to the fictionalized US ambassador to that country. It was dismissed. And though Pinochet died without having been convicted, he was forced to weave in and out of legal processes for the last decades of his life. And star of the movie Jack Lemmon died of natural causes.
*****The M.I.A. video can be found on her website: www.miauk.com